Construction is one of the oldest and most important industries. It plays a significant role in the development of societies, economies and whole countries. According to Marsh, the global construction market had a value of almost 11 trillion USD in 2020 and is projected to be worth 15.2 trillion USD in 2030. This shows that it’s not only still growing but also growing faster than ever.
But with such growth come many challenges including:
- proper communication and collaboration on projects
- good presentation of concepts and designs
- lack of skilled workforce
- low employee retention
In this article, we will talk about ways you can use virtual reality in construction to overcome some of them.
Easily train and retain a skilled workforce
Many sources point out the lack of a skilled workforce as one of the main problems in construction. It’s not surprising considering the industry’s rapid growth and the amount of training an employee needs to be a valuable worker. And training is very important as it affects the performance and safety of employees.
Technical and safety courses are often expensive and take a lot of time. This is the first field where virtual reality in construction can be a game-changer. VR training is incredibly effective and relatively inexpensive in the long run. You only need to pay for the application and hardware once and can then use it an endless amount of times.
Moreover, with VR, you can simulate dangerous situations and the impacts of poor decisions in a safe environment. The video below shows how 4Experience used virtual reality in construction to create a training environment for Strabag.
When it comes to improving employee retention, their satisfaction is key. There are a lot of factors that affect satisfaction. But one thing that some companies overlook is the onboarding process. If done properly, digital employee onboarding can increase employee retention by 82%! And VR/AR solutions are perfect tools for the process.
Support architects and create realistic visualizations
It’s essential for stakeholders to understand how a construction project will look once finished truly. The right presentation can often be the deciding factor when it comes to closing deals and launching projects. But it’s hard to present something that doesn’t exist outside of plans well especially if it’s a large and complex architectural design.
Most companies rely on different sketches and visualizations. But they are often not enough to fully grasp what the finished product will look like.
Virtual reality in construction might be the holy grail many companies are looking for. Show your client a building or interior in a 3D immersive environment. They’ll feel like they’re physically there! This natural and realistic presentation will help them make a more informed decision as well as point out what they like and what they might want to change.
You can also use a VR environment to spark their imagination and create a strong desire to own the place. For example, by installing beautiful furniture or by placing it in lovely surroundings. You can also implement additional variables like different lighting settings.
What’s more, virtual reality in construction can similarly assist architects and interior designers. Seeing an exact and lifelike representation of what they’re working on can help them see things that could be improved and give them an invaluable creative boost.
Improve communication with virtual reality in construction
As in almost any industry, you can use virtual reality in construction to improve communication, collaboration and the user experience. If your client owns a headset, you won’t even have to travel to meet them. Reviewing 3D models, discussing project details and collaborating on the design are all things you can do in a virtual coworking space. Designers and architects can also collaborate in VR. Even if they are in different, remote locations.
There are several VR workspace platforms, but to get the most out of this idea we recommend creating a dedicated application. 4Experience has worked on similar projects in the past, and we are more than capable of creating a platform where your designers could easily create models of buildings and interiors to showcase to the client. If you’re looking for inspiration, L’Oreal did a great job of creating itsr own VR space.
XR solutions for remote worksites
Many large companies have their headquarters miles away from actual construction sites. This makes it difficult to coordinate the work being done. In addition, it frequently requires representatives from branch offices to drive around the country, spending lots of time and money.
For this, we recommend two of virtual reality’s sister technologies – augmented and mixed reality. As you may know, they project virtual objects onto the real world as opposed to completely immersing the user in a virtual world. So these XR are especially useful when collaborating remotely on an object or space that physically exists.
4Experience has developed an AR remote support application that works on the same principle. The user and technician see the same live feed from a smartphone’s camera. They can, however, draw and place virtual objects on that live feed making the solution more valuable than a video call. The same mechanics could be applied in the construction industry, using either AR or the more expensive but more capable MR.
Construction & virtual reality – where to start?
As you can see, virtual reality can be a massive improvement for any business in the construction industry. It can enhance training, communication and productivity, ultimately saving time and money.
As VR is still somewhat of a novelty, we understand it might be challenging to come up with specific ideas for applications and platforms. That’s why we offer a wide range of VR consulting services and a free consultation, to begin with. If you’re interested in the business applications of virtual reality in construction, or any other industry for that matter, we encourage you to contact us.
Is VR development expensive?
Many people do assume that virtual reality is an expensive solution. But is it really so? First, we should acknowledge that VR is a vast field. There is a massive difference between a 360° video viewed on a Google Cardboard and an entire training platform or 3D game created for top-of-the-line VR headsets.
Yes, developing an XR application costs more than a training session or one flight to a client. But it brings measurable benefits and lets you save money in the long run. We’d love to talk to you about your business needs and propose a way we can meet them with immersive technologies. Learn more about our VR development offer and schedule a free consultation!
Marketing specialist with four years of experience. Having spent part of his childhood in Ireland, he's fascinated with its culture and language. Loves history, football and any form of writing.